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January 13th, 2012
10:59 AM ET

GOP poised to make history with non-Protestant presidential nominee

By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) - The race for the Republican presidential nomination is on track to break new ground: For the first time in modern political history - some say ever - the GOP nominee could be someone who is not a Protestant Christian.

Front-runner Mitt Romney is Mormon, as is Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholics.

The only two Protestants in the race are Rick Perry and Ron Paul. Paul had strong finishes in the nominating contests so far but most political experts and Republican establishment figures say he is not favored to win the nomination ultimately. Perry has finished near the end of the pack so far but is hoping for a strong finish in the next-in-line South Carolina primary.

Neither major party has ever had a Mormon nominee. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, was the only Catholic president.

Democrats have also nominated John Kerry, a Catholic, and Michael Dukakis, who is Greek Orthodox, but the overwhelming majority of Democratic presidential nominees have been Protestant.

Experts who follow the intersection of religion and politics say this year’s crop of Republican candidates reflects the changing electorate, the lasting significance of a Supreme Court decision, and shifting forces within American Christianity.

“Catholicism has been almost fully absorbed into the American mainstream,” says William Galston, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.

While Kennedy faced questions from some voters over whether he would take orders from the pope, that kind of skepticism is virtually unheard of today, Galston says.

“The more interesting question is Mormonism. Because in many Protestants’ eyes, Mormons today stand roughly where Catholics did 60 years ago. They are suspect.”

But Romney, with his “unblemished personal life,” is in a unique position to help guide Mormonism into the mainstream of American politics, Galston says.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley says Americans have achieved enough comfort with Mormonism to make room for a possible Romney presidency.

“Are we ready for a Mormon president? I think the answer is yes,” Brinkley says.

The Mormon population is growing quickly, and more and more people have Mormon friends, he says. “It’s no longer a fringe group growing up. It’s a powerful and important religion.”

Mormons have been recruiting Southern Baptists and Methodists to join their fold, making inroads in communities across the country and raising money, Brinkley says. “The Mormon Church is booming when some of the other denominations are struggling for cash and converts.”

Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College, says most American voters are “prepared to think about people who are not Protestant to be president.”

The GOP field of candidates this year is “mostly happenstance” – the contenders did not rise to the front of the pack because of their religions, Silk says. But the fact that their faiths don’t seem to be hampering their chances shows “real growth in the acceptance of religious pluralism since World War II.”

There’s also a broad political force helping bond voters across different denominations.

“In the past generation, denominational differences or religious differences have become less important than the split between modernism and traditionalism within each religion,” says Galston.

“So at this point, traditional Mormons, evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics have more in common with one another politically than they do with the more liberal elements within their respective churches.”

That break has been furthered as the issues that guide many voters’ decisions have changed over the past few decades.

“One of the big things that’s happened since the 1970s is that a lot of cultural issues have moved from the private realm to the public stage,” Galston says. “That’s happened whether it’s been abortion or gay marriage or the treatment of private schools by the IRS.”

It’s happened “much more explicitly on the conservative side than it has on the more liberal side,” Galston says.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which said women have a constitutional right to an abortion, was a turning point.

Before that ruling, Catholics were a solid, reliable Democratic voting block, “one of the most powerful constituencies in the Democratic party,” says Brinkley.

The Vatican opposes abortion rights. And as the Democratic Party became largely supportive of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Republican Party won over Catholics who disagreed with it.

“It turned a lot of Catholic groups from Democratic to Republican,” Brinkley says. “It flipped them.”

People within each denomination who support abortion rights and take liberal stances on numerous issues, meanwhile, have formed similar bonds on the Democratic side, with religious denominations themselves playing little role, the analysts said.

About half the U.S. population is Protestant. The American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College, published in 2009, found Protestants are 51% of the U.S. population, while Catholics are 25%. Mormons are at 1.4%, just behind Jews at 1.8%. Muslims comprise 0.3% of the population.

While a Mormon or Catholic nominee would be a first for the GOP, there’s some disagreement over whether he would be the first “non-Protestant” ever, or just the first in generations.

A December article for rollcall.com said “Gingrich’s nomination would make him the first non-Protestant to be nominated for president by the GOP.” A 2000 Slate article headlined “The Protestant Presidency” said Kennedy was the only non-Protestant “ever elected president.”

But Silk noted that it isn’t clear exactly how to characterize Abraham Lincoln’s religious affiliation.

The first Republican president “didn’t belong to any church, wouldn’t have described himself as a Protestant,” Silk said. At the same time, Lincoln expressed a deep belief in a God who is active in history.

Adherents.com keeps a list of the presidents’ religions. Four presidents were Unitarians, a movement that grew our of Protestant Christianity. Two presidents were Quakers, a group that is connected to Protestantism.

While the analysts CNN spoke to agree that the GOP field this year reflects the country’s religious pluralism, it remains centered only on Christian denominations, setting aside the question of whether Mormonism fits a traditional definition of Christian.

Just how much of a chance a candidate of another religion would have at the presidency is another question.

Some believe that Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000 who ran for the party’s nomination in 2004, was not hampered by being Jewish. “I don’t think that the classic triad Catholic-Protestant-Jew makes a difference at all,” said Galston. “Joe Lieberman’s candidacy foundered, but not because he was Jewish.”

But there has never been a Jewish presidential nominee. And just how a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or member of any other religion would fare is another question.

For some voters, the denominations of the candidates continue to be a relevant factor, the analysts said. Last May, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that about one-third of white evangelical Protestants would be less likely to vote for a Mormon.

In Iowa, CNN entrance polls show that born-again or evangelical Christians supported Santorum, a Catholic, well over Romney.

In New Hampshire, CNN exit polls from the Republican primary show that Catholics and Protestants both chose Romney over the competition. More Catholics – like voters in general - supported the two Mormon candidates, Romney and Huntsman, than the two Catholic candidates, Gingrich and Santorum.

Paul, for his part, came in second in New Hampshire, and placed second among Protestants and tied with Huntsman for second among Catholics.

Analysts agree that a candidate who does not believe in God would be quickly rejected by voters nationwide – even if he or she was raised Christian.

“Whether anyone would accept a professed out of the closet atheist, no,” said Galston. “You’d probably have a better chance as a former member of the Taliban.”

Weigh in on this story at Facebook or Twitter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics

soundoff (951 Responses)
  1. Earle Belle

    Blatant Bias by CBS In GOP Presidential Primary Coverage & The Huge Backlash Occurring!
    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/278411/20120108/jan-crawford-cbs-reporter-slammed-excluding-ron.htm

    Revered Solid Conservative U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina says without libertarians, GOP won't be able to gain majority; Also Gives Surprising Praise About GOP Presidential Candidate:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/203751-demint-says-without-libertarians-gop-wont-be-able-to-gain-majority
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/The-Vote/2012/0111/Ron-Paul-How-badly-does-GOP-need-his-voters
    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/no-endorsement-demint-he-likes-what-he-s-hearing-ron-paul
    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2012/01/13/jim_demint_ron_paul_supporters_part_of_our_natural_base
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/01/13/jim-demints-libertarian-lesson/

    What do all these voters know that has them so stirred up?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cYIP8lGBtFQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6rXTfiyRdGg
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2012/0106/The-Ron-Paul-effect-How-he-is-altering-Republican-primary-calculus

    Wow! Here Is The Smoking Gun: Busted! Ron Paul racist rant caught on tape! OMG! OMG!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3EADdr-5AY&feature=player_embedded#!

    More Racist Ron Paul Expose!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej5_rZof7MA&feature=youtu.be
    http://www.therightperspective.org/2011/12/24/ron-paul-no-racist-naacp-austin-president/
    http://www.dailypaul.com/193306/ron-paul-newsletters-fact-from-fiction
    http://www.revolutionpac.com/2011/12/the-compassion-of-dr-ron-paul/
    http://www.revolutionpac.com/2012/01/compassion-and-james-williams-on-freedom-watch-on-fox/

    Paul Versus Anti-Paul!
    http://www.ronpaul2012.com/2012/01/11/paul-vs-anti-paul/

    January 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  2. g.c.kells

    Quakers are NOT protestant, nor are we linked to the protestant movement. Quakerism is not even strictly Christian.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      Also, both Quaker Presidents were Republicans. So the entire premise of this article is flawed. There have been two non-protestant Republican Presidents already. Hoover and Nixon.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  3. Duke One

    The media keeps promoting this nonsense ! We don't want a moderate we want a conservative. It has nothing to do with Romney's faith.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Sanity

      How about Harry Reid's faith? He was Mormon of the Year in 2009.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      Who is we? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? I'm registered Republican, and I would prefer a moderate over a social conservative.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  4. bill

    used to be repub against dem's but now it sounds like difference of religions in the middle east

    January 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  5. momoya

    Mark from Middle River unintentionally alluded to an interesting fact. Most god believers assume that it is the unbelievers task to disprove whatever god they believe in. Ideas like this demonstrate that atheists and believers are playing two different games on the same field. First, the god believers need to be educated in the logic necessary to approach a concept such as god belief.

    It is not the job of the nonbeliever to disprove the believers god. It is the job of the believer to prove his god. The believer is the one who attempts to foist his view upon those who do not believe, not the other way around. Since the god believer is putting forth the article, it his job to demonstrate its validity.

    The atheists job, in most every case, is simply to ask the believer the following question: How do you conclusively demonstrate the existence of your god? And the most important word here, is "conclusively."

    January 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • g.c.kells

      The argument goes, if God doesn't exist how did space, time and matter come to exist? Which then brings you to, If God exists, and he created everything, who created God? Is it possible that something existed outside of space, time, and without matter before the big bang? It's no more likely or unlikely than believing everything sprang from nothing. Personally I don't believe in God, but I can't prove I'm right, and neither can those who believe. We are all going on some degree of faith.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  6. ReligionIs4Dolts

    Prayer NEVER has brought about world peace.
    Prayer NEVER has helped me win the lottery.
    Prayer DOES NOT save the lives of a group of churchgoers traveling to/from some event in a church van when the tire blows.
    Prayer DOES NOT WORK!

    Religious fairy tales would no longer be offensive if you idiots would let them just fade into the background, like the way Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. mythology has been relegated to libraries and such. People no longer confuse those ancient storied with REALITY! GROW UP! DOLT!

    January 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      storied => stories

      January 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Jim

      2000 years of Christianity has brought us, what? Peace? Justice? Fairness? Teenages fornicate as much now as then. Christianity isn't even what Jesus taught – it is well established that Constantine usurped the Roman State Religion by adopting Christianity, then changed Zeus for God and Apollo for Jesus, removing all Judaic references. It's history folks. All religion is evil – the idea that your beliefs make you special and chosen means all evil you do to your fellow human beings is justified by whatever diety you waste your mind on.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      If all you have to convince folks that God does not exist are just you saying your opinion and swearing, then maybe you should try to find some solid proof and then come back to us. Cause right now your post is like the folks sitting on the side of the road with repent signs.

      While you are at the library doing research you will probably bump into ones on our side who are looking for proof of God enough to convince Atheist that we are right.

      Maybe, while researching yall groups can finally find a away to co-exist... maybe during a study break at a Taco Bell sharing a box of tacos. 🙂

      January 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      O my, the valiant Don Quixote (Mark) tries to come to the rescue again.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Hey, Mark, try reading this with an open mind:
      atheism.about(dot)com/od/argumentsagainstgod/a/GodScience.htm

      January 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes schools
    Prayer changes sports
    Prayer changes life

    January 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jim

      Pray away. Now, shall we pass laws telling you when and how you should pray? Forcing your children to pray in state-mandated forms? Is that what you want?

      January 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Furthermore, HOW does atheism even APPLY to "other living things" which do not have consciences, souls, or which do not bother wasting brain waves or (other forms of life energy) pondering whether or not there is a "god" or whether or not they follow the correct cult version of "god", etc. RETARD!

      January 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  8. CaptMike

    I know this isn't cowing to CNN's liberal toe, but let's face it. Mormons typically believe there is something holy or sacred about special Mormon underwear....underwear that Mitt is wearing right now. And Mormon males believe they can become gods on some other planet in the afterlife. People...liberal or conservative...It doesn't make any difference. Electing somebody who believes these things won't be good for the USA. I can see it now, Prez Romney is at some international diplomatic meeting with world powers, when a CNN reporter asks "Mr. Romney, are you wearing your sacred Mormon underwear?" Not good.

    January 14, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Puzzled

      I suspect Mitt will be a bit like Reagan. No candid comments. Always sheltered by helicopter noise or carefully staged news conferences. Remember, we couldn't even tell when his Alzheimer's began to set in.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  9. Reality

    Protestant, Mormon, Catholic, it makes no differences. Why?--––>

    (only for the "newbies")

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    January 14, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • .........

      only for the sane hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      January 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  10. mas

    The author misstates the percentage of US population that are Protestants, catholic, jews and Muslims.
    He states Muslims are 0.3%. That is way off the mark. The actual number lies between 2 and 3 %.
    Is it just his ignorance, delibrate attempt to marginalize muslims, or what ever else may be the reason, it does lend to believe how Islamophobic culture created by certain people can really blind people's mind. They could never come to grips wth the mere fact how they helped slaughter millions of Iraqi muslims and do not have a single guilty bone in their body. All on a falsification of facts and deceptions.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "
      Continued below:
      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      January 14, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Reality

      From the Pew Inst-itute: (2007)

      "Even smaller religions in the U.S. reflect considerable internal diversity. For instance, most Jews (1.7% of the overall adult population) identify with one of three major groups: Reform, Conservative or Orthodox Judaism. Similarly, more than half of Buddhists (0.7% of the overall adult population) belong to one of three major groups within Buddhism: Zen, Theravada or Tibetan Buddhism. Muslims (0.6% of the overall adult population) divide primarily into two major groups: Sunni (0.3%) and Shia."

      January 14, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Ironicus

      So 2 or 3 percent is not "marginalizing" but 0.3 percent IS?

      Time to pull your head out and realize that you are marginalized precisely because your religion is violent and not because how many there are of you idiots. You have equal rights in this country regardless of your numbers.
      But your violent religion is not deserving of respect by those who value peace and consideration for the rights of others.
      Respect is not a right. You have to earn it.
      And the only way Muslims will earn my respect is by leaving Islam and throwing their bullshlt Q'urans into the garbage.
      So as long as you respect others (in direct opposition to your religion I might add), then others are more likely to respect YOU. Bring your religion into it and it becomes the issue. Keep your religion out of how you treat others and it will not be an issue in that manner.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  11. A message to the Church of Jeebus Christ of Learning Disabled Saints

    How the h&|| do you idiots live with yourselves? THINK! No "god" would put his "son" in the Middle East only to plant some alleged golden tablets in the "New World" with the allegedly "only correct interpretation", which would be impossible to discover until 19 freakin' centuries later! What? To h&|| with everyone that has to live their lives before the 1800's rolled around? And better still...screw everyone who ain't a US American that got to live during or after the 19th century? Fkin idiots! But then no "god" with such an important message as "how to be saved" would have limited "his" message to just the Middle East in a time when the message would only be able to spread at a snail's pace around the globe. Totally irresponsible for an all-knowing, all-powerful deity. Any such "god" with that much power would surely have written "his" message in the sky permanently in bold letters so that everyone could see for all time, the unequivocal, incorruptible message that allegedly needed to be sent to the creation that this alleged "god" so allegedly loved. What a joke!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • kflanigan

      All religion is crazy my friend.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • A message to the Church of Jeebus Christ of Learning Disabled Saints

      Yes, but the more recently they are made up, the more crazy they are.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow dude... Let it go. Do you notice that most folks just say they disagree but why the swearing?

      January 14, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  12. AGuest9

    Hmmm. Someone can't handle the reality of an atheist republican??? Interesting!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      Why not but where would his views merge with some of the GOP views. I say it is possible because folks said there could never be African American Republicans but there are. They even said there could never be Gay and Lesbian Republicans but there are.

      The Dems want you to believe that all Republicans are old white males but as we witness Republicans come in many ages, colors and orientations. So the question of if there could be a Atheist Republican running for president, yes there can be.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Ironicus

      lol

      January 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  13. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Magic Underwear

    No alcohol? No caffeine? No rated R movies? What the h&|| do the Morons do for fun? Oh I get it....it must be all that LSD they eat.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • TR6

      Why do you think Mormons have so many children?

      January 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  14. AGuest9

    Oh, I was hoping they lost this ridiculous idea they have about a god and nominated an atheist! Well, there's always next time.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  15. TR6

    It’s so sad that Bachman is out of the race. We can’t call them the 7 dwarfs any more

    January 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Magic Underwear

      Sad about Bachman? I think it's more of a tragedy they lost Palin!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  16. Really?!?!?

    “Whether anyone would accept a professed out of the closet atheist, no,” said Galston. “You’d probably have a better chance as a former member of the Taliban.”

    Wow.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  17. Mormons have reptilian eyes that can see in the UV spectrum and their ears are uncannily sensitive like a bat's!!!

    They're watching us! They're listening! They see all! They hear all! My flesh is tingling with dread! My privates are shrinking to a humiliating size with a chilling terror! They're going to destroy my coffee beans!!!OMG RUN!!! AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHGHGHGHGHHH!!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  18. Nwvotes

    Will the GOP general election candidate be decided soon? Vote at Nationwidevotes.com

    January 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • sam

      No spam. Fck off.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  19. Mr. Tumnus

    I just found this on Mormon.org and I thought it was interesting.

    "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the religion commonly called the Mormon Church. We believe first and foremost that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of God.

    While our backgrounds and experiences are diverse, Mormons are united by a commitment to Jesus Christ. This site features members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sharing their stories and telling what their faith means to them."

    January 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • TC

      Thier beliefs are not Christian though and are closely alighned to Arianism which denied the divinity of Christ and a trinitarian relationship.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • TC

      THere beliefs also border on the realm of not being monotheistic.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • sam

      TC's apparently an expert on everything.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Jim

      Sorry, Mormonism cannot be considered Christianity because of its polytheistic nature. I also don't think it means squat to the political process. It does reinforce the stereotype of the Evangelical Taliban bigots, though. So sad for your country.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  20. R Benton

    Why should religion determine who is president? The free practice of religion is protected as long as other laws are not violated protecting our citizens young and old. Now if a person in that office forces their faith on others, then they do not deserve to serve in that office and should be removed immediately. Religion has NO place in our government, a message that the religious-right does not get or understand. Sad indeed.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Don Pardo

      It's not sad – religion has already FAILED to be relevant in this election. The Religious Right has no one who will obey them. They are powerless already, irrelevant, ineffectual, nothing but noise. Losers.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • TR6

      @Don Pardo:” They are powerless already, irrelevant, ineffectual, nothing but noise. Losers.”

      You forgot impotent

      January 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • ag

      So you would have zero issues if a Muslim became the president of US? I wonder why that issues was raised when Mr. Obama was running for the president...????

      January 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.